Choosing a Spinal Pinched Nerve Procedure
The decision to undergo a spinal pinched nerve procedure is not something that should be taken lightly. Only after having attempted a wide variety of conservative (non-surgical) treatments over the course of several months should surgery be considered, and even then not all patients will be viable candidates for a spine procedure.
Once you and your doctor have decided that a surgical procedure offers you the best chance for pain relief and an improved quality of life, you will need to determine what type of procedure will be best for your specific condition. In general, spine surgeries will fall under two categories: endoscopic surgery and open spine surgery. Gathering information about the risks and benefits of both will be an important part of your decision-making process, and you should always feel free to get opinions from more than one specialist before consenting to any spinal pinched nerve procedure
Open Spine Surgery
An open spine surgery is an inpatient procedure that requires hospitalization and general anesthesia. The surgeon will make a fairly large incision in the back, neck, side, or abdomen to gain access to the affected areas of the spine so that the anatomical material, whether bone or tissue, that is causing neural compression can be removed. Because a large portion of the anatomy will be excised, a spinal fusion is often necessary to stabilize the spine. During a fusion, the intervertebral disc between the vertebrae where neural compression is occurring is completely removed and in its place, a bone graft is inserted. The graft and adjacent vertebrae are then fastened together with hardware so that the graft can facilitate new bone growth that will eventually immobilize and stabilize the segment of the spine that contains the previously compressed nerve. This type of pinched nerve procedure is highly invasive and can involve a fairly long and arduous rehabilitation.
An endoscopic pinched nerve procedure is a minimally invasive, outpatient surgery. The surgeon will make a small incision, through which a series of thin tubes, an endoscope, a light, and small surgical tools are funneled. By using the endoscope to view the interior of the spine on a video monitor, the surgeon does not need to open the spine with a large incision. Only the disc or bone material causing neural compression is removed, which precludes the need for the extra stabilization of a fusion. Patients who undergo endoscopic surgery generally enjoy a much shorter recovery period than that associated with an open spine surgery.
To learn more about an endoscopic pinched nerve procedure and to find out if you are a candidate, Contact Laser Spine Institute. As the leader in endoscopic spine surgery, we have helped tens of thousands of patients worldwide find relief from back and neck pain.